Start with a sample of the day's tea—like an almost sugar-sweet Hualien Fengmi oolong from Taiwain, airy and completely free of bitterness—and then take on the herculean task of selecting from the extensive tea list. Seasonal choices included a Shincha, Hong Xue Cha organic, and a Fair Trade Darjeeling—and then choose your method of preparation (Yixing clay pot, Gaiwan ("zhong" in French) or Kyuusu.) It's inspiring to sit surrounded by so many people on their own tea explorations, but the teas themselves are yet more inspiring.
'tea shops' on Serious Eats
The cheek-to-jowl streets of Flushing, Queens may not seem like the place to find a serene idyll, but slipping into a cup of tea—especially with the right guide—can be just that. Herself raised in the Anxi region of China where Tieguanyin (or "Iron Goddess of Mercy") oolong tea originates, storekeeper Sue is excited to guide visitors through the process of gong-fu oolong preparation, offering as much depth in her knowledge as exists in the flavors of the tea itself.